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as much as was good for them. Consequently, though they were cold and wet with the spray, they had not to face the added horrors of starvation and thirst. At sundown they shortened sail considerably, only leaving enough canvas up to keep the boat ahead of the
Somehow the long night wore away. Augusta scarcely closed her eyes; but little Dick slept like a top upon her bosom, sheltered by her arms and the blanket from the cold and penetrating spray. In the bottom of the boat lay Mr. Meeson, to whom Augusta, pitying his condition, for he was shivering dreadfully, had given the other blanket, keeping nothing for herself except the woollen shawl.
At last, however, there came a faint glow in the east, and the daylight began to break over the stormy sea. Augusta turned her head and stared through the mist.
"What is that?" she said, in a voice trembling with excitement, to the sailor Bill, who was taking his turn at the tiller; and she pointed to a dark mass that loomed up almost over them.
The man looked, and then looked again; and then hallooed out joyfully, "Land-land ahead!”
Up struggled Mr. Meeson on to his knees-his legs were so stiff that he could not stand-and began to stare wildly about him.
"Thank God!" he cried. "Where is it?" Is it New Zealand? If ever I get there I'll stop there. I'll never get on a ship again !"
"New Zealand!" growled the sailor. "Are you a
fool? It's Kerguelen Land, that's what it is-where it rains all day, and nobody lives-not even a nigger. It's like enough that you'll stop there, though; for I don't reckon that anybody will come to take you off in a hurry."
Mr. Meeson collapsed with a groan, and a few minutes afterwards the sun rose, while the mist grew less and less, till at last it almost disappeared, revealing a grand panorama to the occupants of the boat. For before them was line upon line of jagged and lofty peaks, stretching as far as the eye could reach, gradually melting in the distance into the cold white gleam of snow. Bill slightly altered the boat's course to the southward, and, sailing round a point, she came into comparatively calm water. Then, due north of them, running into the land, they saw the mouth of a great fjord, bounded on each side by towering mountain banks, so steep as to be almost precipitous, around whose lofty sides thousands of sea-fowl wheeled, awaking the echoes with their clamor. Right into this beautiful fjord they sailed, past a line of flat rocks on which sat huge fantastic monsters that the sailors said were sea-lions, along the line of beetling cliff, till they came to a spot where the shore, on which grew a rank, sodden-looking grass, shelved gently up from the water's edge to the frowning and precipitous background. And here, to their huge delight, they discovered two huts roughly built of old ship's timbers, placed within a score of yards of each other, and at a distance of some fifty paces from the water's edge.
'Well, there's a house, anyway," said the flat-nosed Johnnie, "though it don't look as though it had paid rates and taxes lately."
"Let us land, and get out of this horrible boat," said Mr. Meeson, feebly: a proposition that Augusta seconded heartily enough. Accordingly, the sail was lowered, and, getting out the oars, the two sailors rowed the boat into a little natural harbor that opened out of the main creek, and in ten minutes her occupants were once more stretching their legs upon dry land; that is, if any land in Kerguelen Island, that region of perpetual wet, could be said to be dry.
Their first care was to go up to the huts and examine them, with a result that could scarcely be called encouraging. The huts had been built some years— whether by the expedition which, in 1874, came thither to observe the transit of Venus, or by former parties of shipwrecked mariners, they never discovered— and were now in a state of ruin. Mosses and lichens grew plentifully upon the beams, and even on the floor; while great holes in the roof let in the wet, which lay in little slimy puddles beneath. Still, with all their drawbacks, they were decidedly better than the open beach; a very short experience of which, in that inclement climate, would certainly have killed them; and they thankfully decided to make the best of them. Accordingly, the smaller of the two huts was given up to Augusta and the boy Dick, while Mr. Meeson and the sailors took possession of the large one. Their next task was to move up their
scanty belongings (the boat having first been carefully beached), and to clean out the huts and make them as habitable as possible by stretching the sails of the boat over the damp floors and covering up the holes in the roof as best they could with stones and bits of 'board from the bottom of the boat. The weather was, fortunately, dry, and as they all (with the exception of Mr. Meeson, who seemed to be quite prostrated) worked with a will, not excepting Master Dick—who toddled backward and forward after Augusta in high glee at finding himself on terra firma-and by midday everything that could be done was done. Then they made a fire of some drift-wood-for, fortunately, they had a few matches-and Augusta cooked the two fowls they had got out of the floating hen-coop as well as circumstances would allow-which, as a matter of fact, was not very well-and they had dinner, of which they all stood sadly in need.
After dinner they reckoned up their resources. water there was an ample supply, for not far from the huts a stream ran down into the fjord. For food they had the best part of a bag of biscuits weighing about a hundred pounds. Also there was the cask of rum, which the men had moved into their own hut. But that was not all, for there were plenty of shellfish about if they could find means to cook them, while the rocks around were covered with hundreds of penguins, including specimens of the great "king penguin," which only required to be knocked on the head. There was, therefore, little fear of their perishing of
starvation, as sometimes happens to shipwrecked people. Indeed, immediately after dinner, the two sailors went out and returned with as many birds' eggsmostly penguin-as they could carry in their hats. Scarcely had they got in, however, when the rain, which is the prevailing characteristic of these latitudes, set in in the most pitiless fashion; and soon the great mountains with which they were surrounded, and those before them, were wrapped in dense veils of fleecy vapor. Hour after hour the rain fell without ceasing, penetrating through their miserable roof, and falling-drop, drip, drop-upon the sodden floor. Augusta sat by herself in the smaller hut, doing what she could to amuse little Dick by telling him stories. Nobody knows how hard she found it to have to invent stories when she was thus overwhelmed with misfortune; but it was the only way of keeping the poor child from crying, as the sense of cold and misery forced itself into his little heart. So she told him about Robinson Crusoe, and then she told him that they were playing at being Robinson Crusoe, to which the child very sensibly replied that he did not at all like the game, and wanted his mamma.
And meanwhile it grew darker and colder and damper hour after hour, till at last the light went out and left her with nothing to keep her company but the moaning wind, the falling rain, and the wild cries of the sea-birds when something disturbed them from their rest. The child was asleep at last, wrapped up in a blanket and one of the smaller sails; and Augusta,